Xenia (Greek: ξενία, lit. 'guest-friendship') is the ancient Greek sacred rule of hospitality (or hospitium), the generosity and courtesy shown to those who are far from home and/or associates of the person bestowing guest-friendship. The rituals of hospitality created and expressed a reciprocal relationship between guest and host expressed in both material benefits (e.g. gifts, protection, shelter) as well as non-material ones (e.g. favors, certain normative rights).
The Greek god Zeus is sometimes called Zeus Xenios in his role as a protector of xenia. He thus embodied the religious obligation to be hospitable to travelers. Theoxeny or theoxenia is a theme in Greek mythology in which human beings demonstrate their virtue or piety by extending hospitality to a humble stranger (xenos), who turns out to be a disguised deity (theos) with the capacity to bestow rewards. These stories caution mortals that any guest should be treated as if potentially a disguised divinity and help establish the idea of xenia as a fundamental Greek custom. The term theoxenia also covered entertaining among the gods themselves, a popular subject in classical art, which was revived at the Renaissance in works depicting a Feast of the Gods.
In ancient Greece, Xenia consisted of two basic rules:
The respect from hosts to guests. Hosts must be hospitable to guests and provide them with a bath, food, drink, gifts, and safe escort to their next destination. It was considered rude to ask guests questions, or even to ask who they were, before they had finished the meal provided to them.
The respect from guests to hosts. Guests must be courteous to their hosts and not be a threat or burden. Guests were expected to provide stories and news from the outside world. Most importantly, guests were expected to reciprocate if their hosts ever called upon them in their homes.
The fuel of Xenia is trust, talents, positive energy, optimism, healthy critiques and most of all members with a strong desire to serve the community and make the world better for all. We believe autonomy allows us to remain member-run. Xenia is a corporation administered by active members within multiple hospitality sites who have voluntarily united to serve as stewards of our “pay it forward” essence. The Xenia organization is made of people who are sincere in maintaining positive hospitality communities; people who strive for inclusive, clear decision-making on matters related to our mission, values and operations, and who highly value the input of its members. We want our members to see any community they invest in as “home”, and will not remove members who offer sincere and constructive critiques of any type – all suggestions are welcome.
We seek members who make it their responsibility to proactively and simultaneously care for themselves, other members of the Xenia community, and the global environments we interact with in ways that build positive communal trust. We see all members as ambassadors of our values with our “currency” being meaningful interpersonal interactions.
We seek members who value the symbiotic nature of the relationships we strive to build through meaningful hospitality exchanges, whether they are the organization and its members or the host and guest, and demonstrate this through trust-building.
We foster opportunities to increase positive experiences, curiosity, creativity, tolerance, and understanding. We encourage members to actively seek knowledge of that which is different from them, believe in the potential for positive experiences, and embrace a forgiving attitude.
We are open to all persons regardless of race, ethnicity, gender expression, sexual orientation, socio-economic background, age, religion, body shape, size, political orientation, and ability. Yet, our tolerance is not limitless:
We will not tolerate intolerance. When personal values clash, such as when the ideological or religious beliefs of one individual conflict with the beliefs of another, or when the political views of one are irreconcilable with the philosophical views of someone else, we support and encourage our community to always rule in favor of truth, kindness, inclusion, and equality, in that order. We do not tolerate any kind of “–phobic” attitude that places our members' well-being in physical or emotional danger. We also do not tolerate violent and abusive behavior.
We like to promote an open discussion environment and we do not approve, condone, or facilitate "cancel culture". Any request to censor, ban, or moderate someone because of a disagreement of opinion will be completely ignored. We only remove contents of any kind if it is in violation of our Community Guidelines.
We encourage members to engage in acts of thoughtfulness, whether that be offering shelter to a traveler or companionship to someone visiting their town; to share what they can when they can; and to be thankful for those who open their lives to others, be it a story over lunch, a recommendation for the city's best coffee, a tour of a foreign city, a ride in the car at the end of a long day of walking, or a hot shower for a cross-country bicyclist. We strive to foster membership highly engaged in meaningful, friendship-based interactions, be it for a brief moment or a lifelong friendship.
We inspire the safe use and enjoyment of hospitality sites. We expect our members to engage in honest, open, and non-coercive communications with one another. We understand people often develop meaningful interpersonal connections through travel and shared experiences. We also ask our members to understand that Xenia is not a dating app and to not attempt to use it as such.
We believe in providing education and guidance for newcomers.
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